Lodestar Quarterly

Lodestar Quarterly
Figure reaching for a star Issue 1 • Spring 2002 • Poetry

Not Quite a Year

Malka Geffen


You played pool like a praying mantis --
all stick and line and angle. Bent
but focused. That kind of concentration
can be mistaken for thoughtfulness.
It snowed steadily outside, but inside
you took your shots as skinny bones --
no marrow, no meat. Sunk in the holes,
the balls knew they'd been used. It was sweet
the way you won my affection.


We took switch-back trails all the way
to the river. Rumor had it mountain
run-off made that spring the greenest ever.
We heard the water miles before
we saw it, felt it around
the next bend, were smarter than others
who turned back. Hours down hill
and we shared stories of our nightmares;
my nightmare was of drowning once we got there.


I bought a case of mason jars
at a yard sale for twenty-five cents.
I threw all the lids away while you picked
blackberries and filled every bowl in my house.
I was in search of drinking glasses --
carefree Sunday lemonade condensation.
You made jam, but we found
no place to store it. So I raised my glass
and made a toast to haste and summer fruit.


A Braeburn apple never cored, peeled, sliced,
sauced, pied, or bitten lays on the ground
in the afternoon shade with a wrinkled
and pocked complexion that betrays
an inner rot. Not like weeks before
when apple meant perfection, season,
and taste; meant I didn't look down for fear
of the foreshadow; meant I am a new apple
and none has hung to the bough like this before.

Malka Geffen is working toward an MFA in creative writing at Mills College in Oakland, California. She moved to the Bay Area in 1997 from Tucson, Arizona where she was born and bred. Besides writing poetry and enjoying the lifestyle, Malka plays drums and considers her future unemployment with a furrowed brow.

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